COLUMBUS, Oh. (WCMH) A group of Ohio State students, who belong to the OSU Meteorology Club, chose New Orleans as the site of their annual service project to help residents rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the coast of southeast Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi on August 29, 2005.
The storm’s winds were powerful enough–gusts to 145 mph at landfall–but it was the storm surge that overpowered levees surrounding Lake Pontchartrain to fail, swamping 80 percent of the low-lying historic city along the Mississippi River. At least 1,833 people lost their lives in the aftermath of the storm’s deadly strike, mostly from floodwaters that engulfed New Orleans.
The students worked on three homes, focusing on mold remediation, applying drywall, primer and fresh paint. Meeting grateful residents who are still in the process of reclaiming their lives, especially in the hard-hit Lower 9th Ward, all came away with a different perspective on life beyond the study of tropical meteorology.
The St. Bernard Project is named for the parish where the students prepped homes for repair, and where damage from the devastation 10 years ago is still very evident.